At their February 13 monthly meeting, the Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee voted unanimously to support the transportation improvement objectives of the U.S. and Arizona chapter of Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) as outlined in the report, “Advancing Solutions To America’s Transportation Problems.” These principles, reprinted below, are in keeping with Downtown Voices’ priority issues.
Advancing Solutions to America’s Transportation Problems: The nation’s transportation system is in trouble. America’s dependence on cars for transportation is the number one cause of our addiction to oil and a major contributor to global warming and air pollution. Americans waste millions of hours each year on congested roads – many of which are in increasingly poor repair. At the same time, we spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year on wasteful projects that should go to basic maintenance, modernization and investments in better transportation choices. America must move toward a new transportation future for the 21st century that enhances our economy, national security, public health, environment, and quality of life. To get there, we need a new federal transportation policy that does the following:
- Expands clean, efficient transportation choices for Americans by prioritizing investment of new capital funds for light rail, commuter rail, rapid bus service, high-speed intercity rail and other forms of modern public transportation. At the same time, federal policy should encourage transportation investments that build dynamic and accessible communities, where more Americans can walk, bike or take transit to get where they need to go.
- Fixes our crumbling roads and bridges by investing more federal highway money in maintenance, not massive new highway projects. It’s time for the federal government to embrace an approach to highway spending that prioritizes maintaining and modernizing our existing highways over building more.
- Spends taxpayers’ money more wisely by focusing transportation dollars on solving our nation’s biggest problems. For decades, the federal government has spent billions of dollars on highway projects with little evaluation and no accountability. That must change. Federal transportation money should be spent only on projects that produce real results over the long haul – for example, by reducing our dependence on oil, curbing global warming pollution, alleviating congestion, improving safety, and supporting healthy, sustainable communities.
Steve Weiss, Chair, Steering Committee